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The John Adams Society

Christopher T. Wolff 


John P. Augustine


Sandy Nelson

Chief Whip

Marina Wolff



March 18, 2021


Note: A Society Lecture Event at 7:00 PM by Mary Amlaw will immediately precede this debate.
"Minnesota’s Tea Party Movement: Its History and Role in Today’s Politics"

"The government is promoting bad behavior . . . You can’t buy your way into prosperity . . .”
--excerpts from Rick Santelli’s 2/19/2009 rant on CNBC that inspired the modern Tea Party movement

2009 SAW THE FORMATION of a “Taxed Enough Already” backlash against higher taxes, Troubled Asset Relief Program bailouts of entities deemed “too big to fail”, skyrocketing national debt, and ever-expanding control of the housing and health-care sectors of the American economy. The backlash spawned many grassroots, locally-led Tea Party organizations that were instrumental in electing candidates they supported to Congress in 2010. Yet by 2012, much of that rebellious energy was wasted when an establishment politician with a problematic record on health-care policy, Mitt Romney, became the Republican presidential nominee. Disillusionment continued to spread among the grassroots when House and Senate leaders, succumbing to media-promoted anxieties about government shutdowns, agreed to bipartisan budget deals overriding discretionary spending caps that had been enacted in 2011. The remaining Tea Party activists were splintered among a plethora of Tea Party-named groups vying for donors and recognition.

Eighty-seven Republicans were newly elected to the U.S. House in the 2010 Tea Party wave election. Of the 66 elected from districts previously held by Democrats, only 24 still hold a prominent elected office. Some of them are thoroughly integrated into the beltway swamp establishment. They did not repeal Obamacare when there was a window of opportunity to do it. Progressive leftists even regained control of the U.S. Senate two months ago, when voter enthusiasm for Georgia Republican candidates was low, due to lack of confidence in the election process and perceived stinginess on handing out more COVID relief money. The grassroots fire against establishment liberals that fueled the 2010 Tea Party wave seems to be gone.

ON THE OTHER HAND, is it really gone? Republicans made significant gains in the U.S. House even while their President was struggling under the weight of a pandemic-influenced collapse of both the economy and the election process. Nevertheless, although he did not embrace all of the Tea Party platform, Trump did inspire activists by sharing with them the same contempt for the beltway establishment. Though it is valuable to have authentic grassroots origins, the Tea Party movement is better positioned to realize victories if they can work with charismatic, populist leaders such as Donald Trump.

THE CHAIRMAN, who with the Chancellor has hosted some fine tea parties in his household, has called a debate to see how much support for the Tea Party can still be found. Hence, the resolution:

RESOLVED: The Tea Party movement has been consumed by America’s appetite for spending.

The Debate will be held at 7:30 PM on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at Burger Moe’s, 242 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN 55102. It will be preceded at 7:00 PM by a Society Lecture, a first-person account about the Tea Party by Mary L. Amlaw, a businesswoman and co-founder of a Tea Party Patriots chapter in Minnesota. She is also the author of the book We Love Our Country: America’s Constitutional Republic.

The Chancellor and Chairman encourage people to arrive prior to 7 PM and to thank our host venue by spending money while partaking of food and drink. The debate will begin at 7:30. Please be responsible and follow current government edicts, as we need to project law-abiding conduct, lest the regulators get too interested in our social gathering. There is no dress code; however, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies are encouraged to adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen arriving sans tie yet wishing to discourse on the resolution, the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand several remarkable selections. Questions regarding debate caucus procedures of about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (651) 494-9008 or Secretary at (651) 398-9316.